I'm exactly like other girls.

Friday, 11 December 2015



We’ve all seen it, we’ve all thought it: I’m not like those other girls.  It’s an attitude I see less as I’ve grown up and matured myself, but back in the day it was like I couldn’t go a day without other women and girls proudly proclaiming how different they were from ‘other girls’, distancing themselves from them, myself included.  Teenage me would’ve been the first to shout from the rooftops that I’m not like other girls – “I’m not into makeup and iPhones and fashion magazines or staying out late drinking!  I like reading and staying in and writing and doing constructive things, not like them.  I’m one of the guys!”  It would’ve been said with a tinge of distaste in my voice and a desire to put up a wall between myself and the idea of ‘other girls’, lest I be packaged up into the same box as them.  Being grouped with ‘other girls’ is, after all, an insult because ‘other girls’ are inferior, with inferior interests and inferior intellect.

I may never have said as much and I sure as hell wasn’t aware of it at the time, but it was subconsciously what I was thinking.  I was one of many that chose to see other women – particularly outgoing, feminine women – as enemies who were an ugly caricature of party girls and vapid idiots who were more interested in lip gloss than politics and only pretended to like video games for the attention of men.  I wasn’t like that, of course.  I was more comfortable in the company of men, because I wasn’t like other girls.  I didn’t get along with other girls, because of all that drama, drama, drama.  Other girls are just so catty… save for the select few that I decided were also not like other girls, and were therefore worth befriending.  Just them though, not all the other girls.

It took me a long time to grow up and stop seeing myself as a unique and special snowflake and to start seeing other women as more than just competition or offensive, two dimensional ideas of women that I’d been fed while growing up, through interactions with friends and family and in the media.  Helped along by society’s notions that masculinity and masculine interests are seen as good and worthwhile, while femininity and feminine interests are inherently less valuable, we get these stereotypes of ‘girly’ girls – the ones who enjoy gossip and clothes and makeup – stuck in our heads, and many of us who decided that we aren’t like that aggressively try (or tried) to separate ourselves from those caricatures of feminine women.  The feminine women who couldn’t possibly actually be intelligent, who couldn’t possibly have any depth beyond their vanity or fashion magazines, who couldn’t possibly have nerdy interests for themselves instead of for male attention.  The feminine women who couldn’t possibly be just like us.

What we don’t realise growing up and what many of us still fail to realise well into adulthood though, is that these ‘other girls’ are just as three dimensional and multi-faceted as we are.

I’m more than just my interest in make-up and the fact that I take ages to get ready in the morning, or the fact that I enjoy a good Starbucks every now and again or the fact that I like shopping and fashion.  Meeting me for the first time, I’d probably be exactly like these much maligned ‘other girls’ that apparently run rampant anywhere and everywhere, but when you dig a little deeper and actually have a conversation with me, you might learn that I love Star Wars and have done since childhood, that my preferred aesthetic is urban witch, that if I had the time and money I’d love to retrain as an aerospace engineer or air accident investigator, that I’m a feminist and I keep up-to-date with politics and current events, and that I have a plan for the zombie apocalypse.  There are plenty of women who will never learn any of that about me though, even if we would’ve had loads in common, because they can’t get past that their initial perception that I’m ‘just like other girls’.

It goes without saying that I’m not dragging women who happen to just end up good friends with more men than women, or who genuinely have nothing in common with the other women in their lives – that’s cool, whatever spices your pumpkins.  The problem is when we refuse to even give other women the time of day because of our own perceived ideas of gender and femininity and what certain ‘types’ of women are like.  Not giving other women a chance based wholly on the fact that you’re ‘not like other girls’ and they are ‘like other girls’ and like girly things and look or act a certain way just closes doors to possible friendships that could be lasting and loving and fulfilling before you’ve even peeked inside.  It may be that you’re nothing alike and don't get on, and that’s fine, but other girls are more than just ‘other girls’ and shouldn’t be treated as a bizarre hive mind, where if you don’t get on with one or two of them, you can’t possibly like any of them. 

I am like other girls, and I’m proud of it.  Other girls are outgoing and introverted, strong-willed and cautious, anxious and confident.  They’re scientists, models, writers, stylists, designers, pilots, parents, entrepreneurs and anything and everything in between.  Leave your preconceived ideas of what other women are or aren’t at the door, and open yourself up to embracing your fellow ladies – we’re all ‘other girls’, we’re all in it together and I promise we don’t bite.  (Unless you’re into that.)

10 comments

  1. very interesting post,i enjoyed that read and it seemed to cover quite alot.Very well written too x

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  2. YES STEPH! I had exactly the same attitude when I was younger and luckily I grew out of it, too - it just goes to show how much the 'girls are bitchy drama queens' stereotype is drummed into us. I'm not sure if I would add anything to what you've written because you've basically said everything, and said it really well - such a good post xx

    Toasty

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    1. YAY! Yes it took me such a long time to realise that actually many of the men I knew were FAR more dramatic than I perceived the women in my life to be. @_@ Thank you!

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  3. Interesting post, I agree, girls need to start loving each other instead of trying to compete with one another and dis-liking eachother, I use to be like that when I was younger too but its true you do grow out of this as you get older

    Shelise xx | SHELISES WORLD

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    1. Thanks, Shelise! I'm glad a lot of people grow out of it, it's much better to support each other than try to bring each other down and it makes you feel a lot more confident yourself too!

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  4. I loved this post. I used to pride myself on not being like other girls when I was younger. It took me forever to realise that it was out of a desire to be validated by men and compete with other women. I feel like this is the case for a lot of women and that's really sad! I honestly cringe so much when I think about what I was like before I became more involved in feminism. Thank god I grew up!

    Tara | www.cattitudeandco.uk

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    1. Same! It's both comforting, amusing and horribly embarrassing looking back on how problematic our younger selves were...

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  5. I love this post! When I was younger I definitely had this view. I think now I see everyone just as people. People have many stories and interests that in combination are uniquely theirs. The persona they put across firstly doesn't necessarily show all of those complex interests and passions. I think it's time to take everyone as a person to find out about. Just as when I coach cricket I coach players and need to find out about their individual needs regardless of their gender.
    Kate xx

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    1. That's awesome, and very true! First impressions aren't everything and there's so much more to a person than what you perceive of them on the outside or from the first few minutes of speaking to them.

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